Man, *insert leader name* is fucking up

How many have I heard lobby the same complaints at Obama, that I heard them cry over with Bush? How many times have I seen the reverse happen? Who really gets to decide how great our leaders are? Why doesn’t *insert leader name here* do everything that my clearly trustworthy news sources *cough* foxnews *cough* says they should do?

While having leadership and government is a necessary evil of sorts, demystifying  leaders throughout history is a difficult task. What we know about Julius Caesar comes through the lens of Augustan Rome. Supposedly, Caesar was a military genius with a perfect golf score. What would we say about Caesar if Pompey had won the civil war? I say Caesar’s and Pompey’s roles would be reversed. Caesar would be the worthy opponent who was ultimately bested by Great Pompey’s guile. Then, history would be in the hands of Pompey and not Caesar.

Could we trust Pompey any more than Caesar? If Pompey went on the form the Roman Pompate, then the names in the history books would be swapped. If Pompey attempted to preserve the republic, only Zeus knows what would have happened. 

My point is that we can’t wholly cut through the image leaders create for themselves. We can’t actually know what occurs behind closed doors. To maintain peace and order, such appearances are necessary. But what about accountability, which arguably a great part of the point of democratic governance? If we can’t tell fact from fiction, how can we hold our leaders accountable for anything? Or do I miss the point? Are the presidents and dictators supposed to be symbols and examples for their society? Do we need their myths of heroism and brilliance, in the same fashion we any other hero? Is asking about the “real” Obama just as pointless as asking who the “real” Odysseus was?

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3 thoughts on “Man, *insert leader name* is fucking up

  1. hopeadvancedlatin Post author

    This blog post has a lot of truth in it, and you ask a lot of great questions. I would like to know the answers as much as you would! Just the other day I read an article on CNN about how approval ratings for Bush have increased gradually since the end of his presidency… I’m guessing this happens with all presidents, just as myths and legends would have formed in the ancient world, portraying ancient leaders as either heroes or villains. For some reason the human mind wants everything to be black and white. We have to know if someone was good or bad, when in reality every person is immensely more complex.

    -Arbiter Bibendi

    Reply
  2. Emma

    I agree with you. There are too many leaders who people choose to differentiate into a “success” or “failure” by one or a few of their actions. For example, president Lyndon B. Johnson was criticized by many people due to his policies on the VIetnam War, yet he did a lot of great work that was hardly noticed. This story is repeated through history. While I think there are bad leaders, we are too quick to hate or love a leader based on very few criteria.

    Reply

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